Christmas in Fiskars Village offers a very different day out for all the family. Excellent food, unique shopping opportunities, and the chance to forge your own iron and blow your glass! The season began on November 26th and will run until December 23rd, with most of the shops open every day except Monday until 5pm.
In addition to the shops in Fiskars Village being open from Tuesday to Sunday, the weekends are full of special events. For example, every Saturday and Sunday from noon until 5pm there is an exhibition of “Iron Ladies” at the Copper Smithy! Other special events include:
Saturday & Sunday 11am-4pm – Traditional Christmas exhibition at the Fiskars Museum, with Santa Claus knocking on the doors of the homes of workers and officials. At noon, visitors can take a 30 minute walking guided tour with a Christmas theme, which leaves from the clocktower.
There will be “ginger bread workshops” held in the Gastronomic Academy in the Assembly Hall, for both adults and children. These workshops begin at 1pm and last until 3pm, are overseen by Fiskarsin Martat, at a cost 3€, and will be held on the 3rd, 4th, and 10th of December.
On the 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 17th of December visitors can learn how to blow their own glass Christmas gifts at the Bianco Blu glass studio. Prices for these workshops are 45€ for adults and 35€ for children. You can reserve your place in advance by calling +358 (0)19 277 7504, or you can make your reservation on the day.
On Saturday 3rd of December visitors can take the workshop at the forge, and fashion for themselves a candle holder, for a fee of 15€. This workshop begins at 2pm and lasts until 5pm. On Sunday the 11th of December there will be a Christmas Sale at the Assembly Hall, and on both the 11th and the 18th visitors can go on a Christmas Tree Safari!
For more details of all the Christmas events visit the Fiskars Village website.
So what, exactly, is Fiskars Village. Originally it was known as Fiskars Ironworks and was founded in 1649 by the Dutch businessman Peter Thorwöste when Swedish Queen Christina granted him permission to manufacture cast iron and forged products, but not cannon. It changed hands a number of times over the years, until it was bought by Johan Julin in 1822. Julin was a progressive man, and in 1832 he built Finland’s first fine forging workshop, and 5 years later the country’s first machine workshop. Julin also made a number of improvements to the farming and forestry around the ironworks village, as well as building a school in 1826 and in 1833 seeing that the progressive teachings of the Bell-Lancaster system were taught there. By 1860 the village had its own doctor, and in 1892 a hospital with 10 beds was opened. In addition to enjoying excellent education and health facilities, the villagers could also choose from a number of associations which offered them a range of leisure time activities, ranging from sports to music and a volunteer fire service.
Thanks to Julin’s hard work and vision, the ironworks flourished: in 1818 there were 196 villagers, in 1823 there were 253, and in 1852 the number had increased to 661, 156 of whom worked at the ironworks. If all the institutions and land owned by Fiskars are included, the number of employees rises to 425 (and the total number of inhabitants to 1,384).
By the 1980s most production was moved to Billnäs, with most of the inhabitants following, leaving many of the buildings empty. The operations that remained were modernised, but the company didn’t neglect the rich heritage it enjoyed and created a number of development plans for the village in order to keep its traditions alive. The search for new inhabitants began, under the slogan “A Living Ironworks Village”, and this attracted a number of artists, craftspeople and designers. By 1993, professionals from 20 fields of the arts have repopulated Fiskars Village, and they began to consider the idea of a joint exhibition.
The Artisans, Designers & Artists of Fiskars Co-operative was founded in 1996, and today this organisation has over 100 members. Under their collective guidance Fiskars has quickly established itself as a showcase for top quality Finnish art and industrial design, whose annual exhibitions are now among the biggest design events in Finland, attracting increasing numbers of visitors with every year. The goal of creating a “living” artistic environment has been achieved, and one can only believe that Johan Julin would be as proud of his village today as he must have been when he developed it.